EPF makes Australia development play

The Malaysian pension fund is acquiring a 49% stake in an upcoming five-acre mixed-use development project in Melbourne for $115m.

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Malaysia’s largest pension fund, is investing A$154 million ($115 million; €109 million) in an Australian property development project.

EPF is acquiring a 49 percent stake in Yarra Park City, the company which holds development rights for Melbourne Square, an upcoming five-acre mixed-use development project in Melbourne, Victoria.

The project comprises of four towers of residential apartments, a retail mall, an office tower and a hotel/serviced apartments at 93-119 Kavanagh Street on Melbourne’s Southbank.

The seller, Malaysian industrial group OSK, will hold the remaining 51 percent via its subsidiary PJ Development, the firm said in a statement.

“The increasing demand for residential property in Melbourne, Australia, will enable EPF to generate returns for its members,” Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, EPF’s chief executive said, adding that development projects such as this fit the pension fund’s long-term objectives.

The EPF had RM 731.11 billion ($164.72 billion; €155.61 billion) in total assets under management at the end of 2016, the fund said in a statement in February. The pension fund has 4.03 percent of this invested in real estate & infrastructure. EPF’s real estate & infrastructure allocation contributed RM 2.49 billion in investment income in 2016, with annual growth of 46.04 percent.